Today’s article was contributed by my dear friend and body image coach, Laura Fenamore.
Our bodies hold all of the information we need to function at our best, but too often we ignore their messages and plow ahead with what our minds tell us. Perhaps it’s because we’re taught from an early age to focus on external demands, we frequently ignore what our bodies are saying.
More often than not we treat the physical symptoms rather than looking for the internal cause of pain, depression, and weight gain. We take another extra-strength aspirin rather than investigating what’s causing our head to ache. We use more caffeine or sugar to give us a lift when we feel tired, rather than listening to our body’s message about needing rest. A look at our pets may be all we need to see about the value of naps.
Our bodies communicate a thousand little messages to us every day. For instance, is your mouth pinched and tight? Are your shoulders up around your ears? Do you feel a knot in your stomach as you promise to do something? Your body is telling you that you are tense, stressed, and over-extended.
As a society, we notoriously put deadlines ahead of the protests of aching bones or inadequately nourished bellies. Your body is the a highly sophisticated, intelligent machine, but too often, we fail to understand them because we don’t value them as highly as we should.
So what do you do to give your body an equal say in how you use it?
Start with the breath. Breathing consciously is a major part of body awareness. Allow your thoughts to come and go in the background while breathing in and out. As you inhale and exhale, think the words “In. Out. In. Out.” Lovingly make a note to yourself how and where you are failing to breathe; many of us breathe only in our chests when we should be allowing the breath to expand down into our abdomens. Perhaps you are denying life by taking in shallow breaths, and your body is asking you to stop and breathe more deeply. There’s no reason to make yourself wrong if this feels odd or uncomfortable. Just practice this daily to begin for 5 minutes and soon it will be easy for you.
Allow yourself quiet time. Sit for ten minutes each day, or even five if that is more manageable. This will give you a chance to listen to your body. Begin by sitting while breathing and become the conscious observer of your thoughts. This would be a great practice especially in the middle of a busy day. This time can also be taking a walk or a nap or soaking in a hot tub rather than taking a quick shower.
Get a massage. This is not an extravagant indulgence; it wakes up the whole nervous system and helps you tune in. Massage is proven to alleviate stress and help circulation and muscle recovery.
Use your journal to dialogue with your body. Ask your body how it’s feeling, what it wants, what’s going on. Give that sore wrist or stiff lower back a voice and let it tell you what its message is.
Eat when hungry, sleep when tired. Take a week and really pay attention to your body’s most basic needs. Do your real rhythms for eating and sleeping conform to the habits you’ve established? If they don’t, ask for help changing them.
Do a body inventory to relax. Start with your toes and work upwards. Scan your body from the inside. Tense each part slightly, then relaxing it to release residual tension. Start from your feet upwards. Tense your feet first, then your calves, and so forth, until you reach your face. Relax your entire body.
If your body suggests rolling down a grassy hillside, taking flight on a playground swing, or skipping down a winding path, why resist? Listen to your body. It knows what it needs and is a true guide. If you want to be truly happy and healthy, begin to start listening to your body. Body awareness is part of a healthy lifestyle, just as much as eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly. Its impulses hold the key to your well-being.
Weight Release & Body Image Coach Laura Fenamore is on a mission to guide women around the world to love what they see in the mirror, one pinky at a time, so they can unlock the secrets to a healthy weight and start loving their lives as soon as possible.
Her popular Body Image Mastery program is celebrated by hundreds of women who have lost weight, reclaimed self-esteem, and started bold, happy lives with Laura and her proven programs as their guide.
Having overcome her own battle with addiction, obesity, and eating disorders, Laura released over 100 pounds 24 years ago to begin a journey to guide other women to live more joyous, balanced lives. The author of the forthcoming book Weightless: 7 Tools to Love Your Body (andLose Weight For Good) and a frequent contributor to local and national media – including First for Women, Ladies Home Journal, the Dr. Pat Show and blog contributor on Betty Confidential, Daily Love and Positively Positive. Laura believes that self-love and self-care is where the transformation begins. Learn more about her programs, invite her to speak or contribute to your program or conference at OnePinky.com.
Join Laura Fenamore for a class titled, “Love Your Way to Your Perfect Weight” starting June 7th, 2012. Your body will change and your whole life with change. http://www.entheos.com/academy/courses/Love-Your-Way-to-Your-Perfect-Weight-Part-1
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Medical Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, drritamarie.com, and the experts who have contributed. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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